Monday, May 26, 2008

Birding Guide Giveaway!

The folks at 10,000 Birds are giving away some birder guides! Check it out.

(I so meant to let folks know about this sooner. Where is my head! - Oh, yeah, this is May and I am a fourth grade teacher.)

PTSW: School is Out!

Sara Holbrook captures the excitement of childhood in four short lines:

Jump and shout.
Summer's in.
School is out!

- Sara Holbrook

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Sunday Concert: Today

Imagine my surprise as an old folk music fan to hear, recently, our organist at church launch into a beautiful rendition of this song as a postlude to the worship service. It is one of the prettiest tunes ever written, but the words are hardly a sermon likely to be preached 'round here. I suppose someone has put new words to it, though I've never heard them. Here are the New Christie Minstrels singing, Today ---

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Psst! Have you Heard?

Pssst. Have you heard? I have. I heard that Barack Obama once said there has to be “an end” to the Israeli “occupation” of the West Bank “that began in 1967.” Yikes!
(Read more.)

...FBI personnel started notifying headquarters as early as 2002 that other government employees were using abusive tactics -- including sexual humiliation, prolonged hand-to-foot shackling and exposure to extreme temperatures -- on detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo. Justice officials conveyed some of these concerns in at least one White House meeting in 2003, but the White House apparently ignored them. A year later, the revelation of similar abuses at Abu Ghraib became a source of everlasting shame for American citizens, a serious blow to the United States's moral authority, and a potent rallying cry for the nation's enemies....
(Read more.)

Friday, May 23, 2008

Fanning Flames

I believe Barack Obama will be an inspiring President. I will support him enthusiastically despite the fact that I first supported John Edwards, and after Edwards dropped from the race I supported Hillary Clinton. I have several times spoken about the wealth of candidates we have had in the Democratic Party this year.

The enthusiasm for the Democratic candidates, the huge turnouts in Democratic caucuses and primaries, the special election victories for our party, all point to a Democratic victory in November.

The primary hope for the Republicans is that we will form a circular firing squad in our close race for the nomination. Democrats who have jumped on Hillary Clinton today, as CNN and others have tried to fan a fire from the tiniest spark in history, do a disservice to the cause. Hillary Clinton, plainly, obviously, undeniably, simply, mentioned the 1968 race as an example of races that lasted into June. Wolf Blitzer and others have tried to make her mere mention of Robert Kennedy's assassination into some message that was NOT a part of the conversation! Barack Obama needs to reprimand those in his campaign who try to make something else of this! That is outragious, wrong, insulting to Sen. Clinton, insulting to me, insulting to any reasonable person. Just because an lightweight like Wolf Blitzer tries to make a ratings-boosting controversy out of nothing, the Obama campaign doesn't have to join in. That is the same old politics, not the changed politics we all want - and have come to expect - from his campaign.

Monday, May 19, 2008

An Unplanned Reunion

I wrote about a Shaw family reunion last October. They come around too seldom. We had a great time that fall day, telling stories, reminiscing, catching up on the doings of the younger branches, marveling at youngsters who had grown so, matured so.

Several of us especially noticed how the older teen boys, Jeremy and Tyler had grown so tall, self-assured, well-spoken. My sister Joan marveled at their comfort at talking with their elders. They were intelligent, articulate and at ease.

Last Friday we got together again on shorter notice.

On Mother's Day Tyler, only seventeen, had visited his mother in Hampton. He had texted his Dad on his cellphone as he left to drive home to Warner Robins. Driving home alone, he wore his seatbelt and did not speed.

Jeffrey was on the phone with his mother, who lives in in Florida, expressing his concern that Tyler's usual texted "K" had not arrived yet. He had to end the conversation early because another call was coming in from a number he did not recognize. It turned out to be the call that no parent should ever have to receive.

When a tire had drifted off the pavement Tyler had over-reacted. The car jerked back onto the road, crossed the median, flipped, and hit an oncoming vehicle. Still Tyler's injuries would have likely been minor except for a loose piece of cargo that hit his head. He was pronounced dead at the scene but the EMT's paddles elicited a faint heartbeat. He was life-flighted to a hospital in Atlanta and clung to unconcious life until Tuesday.

I left school at noon on Friday and by a little after one Mama, Sheila, Joan and I were on our way to Warner Robins for a funeral. As it turned out we were caught in traffic delays and did not reach Christ United Methodist Church until five-thirty. The service was nearly over. Cars filled the church lot and grassy areas and nearby lots. We parked at a bank across a side street. The sanctuary was overflowing and the funeral directors suggested we wait in the fellowship hall for the service to end. There we looked at the photo collages and scrapbooks displayed around the room. In them here and there a picture of my cousin looking so much like his daddy - my Daddy's brother - Jack. But mostly of Tyler. The baby born - just yesterday - in 1991. The toddler. The pre-teen. The soccer-obsessed teen. There were cards from his classmates and team mates.

(I never finished this post, but decided three & a half years later to let it post at the original date)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sunday Concert: Both Shall Row

When Sheila and I merged our record collections in 1971 we found a number of duplications. We both had some PP&M I remember. We also both had James Taylor albums. Here is James singing an ancient folk song that we often sing at our occasional "hoots". "The Water is Wide"

This beautiful tune is now used for a wonderful hymn based on the 13th chapter of First Corinthians. Here is a children's choir singing "The Gift of Love".

Poison E-mails

I haven't checked in on The Questing Parson as often as I ought lately. He usually hits the nail on the head, and has again with this post:

Dear Jack,

I received your email this morning. As the pastor who baptized you, I am a bit disturbed...

(Read more)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Learning in the Great Outdoors #12

Charlie at 10,000 Birds has done a magnificent job of hosting the May edition of Learning in the Great Outdoors. Check it out. His photography alone is worth the visit!

I am neck deep in the usual end-of-school-year fuss and have been too busy to get to the blog much. Please check back here every now and then.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Call for Submissions!

Charlie at 10,000 Birds has issued a call for submissions for the May edition of Learning in the Great Outdoors.

If you haven't visited 10,000 Birds lately, you should check it out. Charlie and company have redesigned the site to make it even more entertaining and helpful.

If you have written or read an interesting post about the great outdoors, submit it to Charlie today. If you have a suggestion of a deserving website that should be noticed by those interested sharing nature with children, pass it along. Do you have a favorite nature-related children’s website that would be a candidate for the Virtual Outdoors award? Send it to Charlie. Would you like to see this carnival grow? Copy this Call for Submissions to your own blog! And after Charlie posts #12 (around May 12), post an announcement and link on your blog. Help us make Learning in the Great Outdoors a great tool for anyone interested in watching children learn in the context of the environment around us.

Email charlie10000birds - AT - gmail - DOT - com.